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Estimating what it would cost the Panthers to trade up from No. 8 to No. 3 in the draft

In 2016 the Eagles traded up from No. 8 to No. 2 for Carson Wentz, giving us a glimpse of what the Panthers might need to fork over for a franchise quarterback.

NFL Draft Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images

In B-Dub’s latest mock draft he had the Panthers trading up from No. 8 to No. 3 to land BYU’s Zach Wilson, hopefully giving Carolina a franchise quarterback who can finally lead our beloved team to the promised land. Pro Football Network’s draft simulator allowed the trade by swapping these picks:

Dolphins receive: 2021 pick Nos. 8 & 39, plus 2022 first round pick

Panthers receive: 2021 pick Nos. 3 & 81

Several of the comments in B-Dub’s column asked about how realistic this trade scenario was. Sure, it worked in a mock draft simulator, but would it work in the real world? It’s an interesting question and one that’s difficult to answer because of the subjective way in which future draft picks are valued. Most of us are already familiar with the standard draft pick trade value chart which can help assess the fairness of trades in this year’s draft, but the chart breaks down when future picks are thrown into the mix because they are unknown quantities.

For example, in B-Dub’s scenario the Dolphins are getting Carolina’s first round pick in 2022. If the Panthers are bad once again and draft No. 8 next year, then Miami is getting 1,400 trade value chart points. But if the Panthers improve next year and end up drafting No. 16, that’s only 1,000 points. A 400-point difference is the equivalent of the No. 50 overall pick, or a mid-second rounder.

Since the draft trade value chart isn’t the best tool when future draft picks are included in a deal, I decided to look back at previous drafts to see if a trade similar to the one B-Dub used had happened in the recent past. Fortunately, back in 2016 the Philadelphia traded up from No. 8 to No. 2 to draft quarterback Carson Wentz, so we have a solid real-world example. Here’s how that deal went down:

Eagles receive: 2016 No. 2, plus 2017 fourth round pick

Browns receive: 2016 No. 8, 2016 No. 77 (3rd Rd.), 2016 No. 100 (4th Rd.), plus 2017 first round and 2018 second round picks

When using this as a template for a Panthers trade in 2021, we need to factor in that Carolina is “only” moving up to No. 3 while Philly moved up to No. 2. The trade value chart has a 400-point difference between the value of No. 2 (2,600) and No. 3 (2,200), and once again 400 points is the approximate value of the No. 50 pick, or a mid-second rounder. So, perhaps instead of the Panthers adding a second round pick in two years (2023), maybe the Dolphins would settle for a third rounder instead. With that in mind, here’s what the Panthers would need to give up based on the Eagles-Browns trade in 2016:

Panthers receive: 2021 No. 3, plus 2022 fourth round pick

Dolphins receive: 2021 No. 8, 2021 No. 73 (3rd Rd.), 2021 No. 103 (4th Rd.), plus 2022 first round and 2023 third round picks

Now, I know teams and players are different in 2021 than they were in 2016, but the Eagles-Browns trade is still a solid template to follow.

So, Panthers fans, if you were Carolina’s general manager would you do it? Would you pull the trigger to make sure you can land the team’s next franchise superstar?

Personally, I would. And, yes, I’m the benevolent dictator of Trade Down Island and normally advocate for smartly moving down a little in the first round to acquire more picks in the second and third rounds. But when a Pro Bowl-caliber franchise quarterback is within reach, your general manager and scouts need to earn their money. If Carolina’s front office has Zach Wilson, Justin Fields, and/or Trey Lance evaluated as future Pro Bowlers, the benefit far outweighs the cost to trade up and get him.


If you were general manager, would you make this trade to land your quarterback of the future?

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